This Journalist Is Virtually Sharing Her Family’s Farm With The World Amid The Coronavirus Pandemic

Phoebe Weston is an established journalist who writes for The Guardian, and for her, the coronavirus pandemic meant moving back home to her family’s farm, which she hasn’t been to in 10 years. 

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Phoebe Weston is an established journalist who writes for The Guardian, an online news publication that covers a wide variety of news from traditional world updates, to Op-Ed pieces about the newest season of the “Real Housewives.” Recently, the Guardian called upon its writers to discuss what life back home in quarantine was like. For Weston, the coronavirus pandemic meant moving back home to her family’s farm in Sevenoaks, Kent, located in the lower part of England.

Weston initially recalled the fact that this is the first time in a decade that she’s been back to the farm. Entering into her childhood bedroom was just as meta of an experience as everyone describes, especially when your parents leave it relatively untouched, like in her case. Two of Weston’s brothers, who are also in their 30’s, also moved back into their childhood home amid the pandemic, transporting the family right back to two decades ago when they all were together. 

She describes the entire month of April as a constant struggle to find WiFi hot-spots on the property while fighting with her older brothers to be in the two rooms with the best connection; an experience she recalls happening quite often as the baby of the family. Her and one of her brothers, Inigo, set up their at-home offices in their parents garden shed. Her brother is currently pursuing a Master’s Degree remotely, and after a while, the two began recording videos of their experiences working in a garden shed on a farm while being surrounded by dozens of farm animals constantly begging for food and attention. 

Spring on the farm during a pandemic is much the same as every other year – lambs and calves are born, and the pond, woodlands and hedgerows are swollen with life. David Attenborough documentaries are nature’s Hollywood – real life requires more patience and lacks glamour, but the stars are just as interesting,” Weston posted on Twitter, where she posts most of the videos her and her brother take.

David Attenborough of course is the famous English broadcaster/natural historian who’s credited with narrating famous BBC nature docu-series such as “Planet Earth” and more recently, “Seven Worlds, One Planet,” a special about the seven continents in the world and how climate change has directly impacted each of them. 

Greylag geese are one of the species on Weston’s parents farm, she recalls how her mom taught her at a young age that Greylag geese partner for life and can live up to 20 years; “I admire how fiercely protective they are of one another.”

Weston is experiencing the creation of life on her family’s farm, especially considering the time of year, spring, and when each animal is meant to reproduce. In the beginning of this month, she recalls noticing the first of the baby swallows taking their first ever drink of water from the lake. Those specific swallows migrate to the small farm all the way from Africa every year to raise their young safely under the protections of the farm.

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“The cool English summer provides the perfect nursery for fledglings, and if conditions are right they’ll produce two or three broods. We made a video using time-lapse footage of the birds diving in and out of the old stables while feeding their hungry chicks with insects they’d caught on the wing.”

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Weston claims that farming for her parents has become a lot easier compared to when she was younger, in the sense that they have more help directly from the Department of Farming and Rural Affairs (DEFRA). DEFRA has a “higher-level of stewardship subsidies that can help [her] parents better manage the farm for wildlife – such as leaving rough field margins, bushy hedges, and forgoing chemicals.”

The family also installed motion-sensor cameras that can help better track the animals and also monitor how certain animals are doing in certain habitats. She recalls the most interesting discoveries that they’ve made with the cameras so far is seeing how many animals are active at night. For example, after the first night they checked the footage and noticed a badger just sitting on top of one of the hills on the property; Weston claims the family has never seen a badger on the property before, but now they set up even more cameras near the hill only to discover a whole family of badgers that visits the hill every night! 

“When I was younger I took all the wildlife we have on the farm for granted, but now I don’t. We can’t capture everything. I like to think of our videos as the wildlife equivalent of Match of the Day, although we’re still waiting for the viewing figures to reflect that,” Weson recalls, telling her readers that if you also have moved back home, try to think of all the aspects of where you grew up that you never thought too much about as a child, and learn to appreciate them more now. 

During these difficult and uncertain times, it’s important to appreciate the simple things that we do still have, like our families, a roof over our heads, food, water, and health, because as we know right now many aren’t so lucky. We must continue to remain inside to do our part in order to give everyone the opportunity to one day get on a plane and go back home again.